Rihanna & dancer in the dark at the X/ Star Tribune photos by Jeff Wheeler

Before the Rihanna concert Sunday at the X, there was no buzz in the building. The lines for booze were long but no one was waiting to buy T-shirts or other merch. There was no electricity or sense of anticipation like there was, say, for Pink last week.

Starting a half hour late, ASAP Rocky couldn’t get the party started. It took some dude in the audience with a sleeveless sweater and Buddy Holly glasses dancing his face off to Kanye West, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and “Harlem Shake” during intermission to spark the crowd.

Rihanna herself was pretty blasé. She paled in comparison to Pink and her own 2011 concert at Target Center, as explained in my review.

The stage seemed too big and too bare. I don’t need bells and whistles to fill the stage but I expect energy, enthusiasm and personality from the star.

Backed by four musicians, two singers and eight dancers (who performed mostly in black outfits and/or darkness), Rihanna just seemed to be going through the motions. Yes, she covered lots of songs but many of them were abbreviated versions, seemingly delivered out of obligation rather than desire.

By the end of Rihanna’s 100-minute, five-costume-change performance, there was a buzz in the building. But it seemed too little too late.

Here is Rihanna’s set list from St. Paul:

Phresh Out the Runway/ Birthday Cake/ Talk That Talk/ Pour It Up/ Cockiness/ Numb interlude You Da One/ Man Down/ No Love Allowed/ Rude Boy/ What’s My Name interlude Jump/ Umbrella/ All of the Lights/ Rockstar 101/ What Now interlude Loveeee Song/ Love the Way You Lie >Take a Bow > Cold Case Love/ Hate That I Love You interlude We Found Love/ S&M > Only Girl in the World> Don’t Stop the Music/ Where Have You Been ENCORE Stay/ Diamonds

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